Trump official revises Statue of Liberty poem to defend migrant rule change

Statue of Liberty

A top US immigration official has revised a quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in defence of a new policy that denies food aid to legal migrants.

The head of Citizenship and Immigration Services tweaked the passage: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

The official added the words “who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge”.

It comes as Trump officials debuted a regulation that denies aid to migrants.

Ken Cuccinelli, the Trump administration’s acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced on Monday a new “public charge” requirement that limits legal migrants from seeking certain public benefits such as public housing or food aid, or are considered likely to do so in the future.

The New Colossus plaque and Emma LazarusThe New Colossus was written by New York-born poet Emma Lazarus in 1883

The new regulation, known as a “public charge rule”, was published in the Federal Register on Monday and will take effect on 15 October.

The rule change is intended to reinforce “ideals of self-sufficiency”, officials said. Critics argue that it will prevent low-income US residents from seeking help.

What did the official say?

On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty on New York’s Ellis Island still applied.

“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” asked NPR’s Rachel Martin.

Ken CuccinellKen Cuccinelli, the acting head of US Citizenship and Immigration Services

“They certainly are,” Mr Cuccinelli responded. “Give me your tired and your poor – who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

“That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge [law] was passed – very interesting timing,” he added.

The actual passage reads in part: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

In the interview, he added that immigrants are welcome “who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition”.

Top immigration official says public charge rule will not target “any particular group”

After the host asked if the policy “appears to change the definition of the American dream,” he said: “We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege.

“No one has a right to become an American who isn’t born here as an American.”

Who will be affected by the new rule?

Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the US are unlikely to be affected by the rule change.

It also does not apply to refugees and asylum applicants.

But applicants for visa extensions, green cards or US citizenship will be subject to the change.

Those who do not meet income standards or who are deemed likely to rely on benefits such as Medicaid (government-run healthcare) or housing vouchers in future may be blocked from entering the country.

Foreign-born population by legal status

Those already in the US could also have their applications rejected.

An estimated 22 million legal residents in the US are without citizenship, and many of these are likely to be affected.

President Trump has made immigration a central theme of his administration. This latest move is part of his government’s efforts to curb legal immigration.

What has reaction been?

The Democratic led House Homeland Security Committee condemned Mr Cuccinelli’s revision in a tweet, calling the words “vile and un-American”.

“It’s clear the Trump Administration just wants to keep certain people out,” the committee wrote, calling Mr Cuccinelli “a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government”.

Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.

Asked about Mr Cuccinelli’s remarks on Tuesday, President Trump did not directly respond to the Statue of Liberty quote, but said: “I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States.”

“I’m tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things.

“So I think we’re doing it right.”

Moveon.org: Take action – Enough anti-immigrant violence

Immigration should be a safe and empowering choice. 

Everyone should have the freedom to move and freedom to stay based on what is best for them to thrive. But from El Paso, TX, to towns across Mississippi, immigrant and Latino communities have been relentlessly attacked by Trump’s administration and right-wing assailants. Here’s how you can take action.

Text ENOUGH to 668366

Want to join the movement against white supremacist violence? Text ENOUGH to 668366 to sign on to denouncing white supremacist violence and demand action to curb guns. Msg & data rates may apply.

Call your member of Congress

Call your senators at 833-487-4445 and demand they pass H.R.8, a gun violence reform package passed by the House this year. Live in D.C. or Puerto Rico and don’t have a Senator? Call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and demand he bring H.R.8 up for a vote.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to Defund Hate

Sign the petition to tell Congress: Stop adding millions of dollars to Trump’s mass deportation machine which attacks immigrant families. Demand cuts in the budgets for detention beds, ICE and CBP agents, and border militarization.

Add your name

Watch and share a video of the #ElPasoFirme vigils

Just days after the horrific attack in El Paso, MoveOn members joined dozens of vigils across the country to speak out against white supremacy and be in solidarity with immigrant and Latino communities. Will you watch and share this video to amplify the message of these powerful community events?

 

Go to town hall meetings and raise your voice

Go to town hall meetings while members of Congress are home for the August congressional recess to demand they condemn Trump’s hate and take action. You can find a list of public events hosted by senators via the Town Hall Project and Moms Demand Actionand you can find toolkits from the Giffords Legal Center and the Brady Campaign to help you prepare for events.

Register to vote

Elections are key moments to hold our elected officials accountable—and when those officials don’t pass legislation like mandatory background checks supported by 97% of Americans, they must be held accountable. Get yourself, your friends, your family, and your entire community ready to use our power in 2020 to vote for our vision of an America where everyone can thrive. Visit Vote.org to check, update, or submit your voter registration.

Show solidarity with the Latinx community

Join a local immigrants’ rights group, sign up to accompany immigrants to ICE check-ins, donate to United We Dream’s DACA renewal fund or local groups like RAICES and theTexas Civil Rights ProjectAnd stay involved—because the attacks against immigrants are escalating, and we can’t back down. Here is a list of some organizations advocating for immigrants’ rights to consider getting involved with in your area:

Free Sticker – Moveon.org

Over the weekend we saw two massacres in the United States in less than 12 hours. The white supremacist killer in El Paso parroted Donald Trump’s racist language in his manifesto. These mass shootings were the second and third mass shootings in the country in less than a week, and the 250th and 251st this year, along with daily gun violence that takes the lives of more than 36,000 Americans every year.1

And yet Trump continues to shift the blame away from his own incitements of racist violence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to do his job and bring gun violence prevention bills to a vote, while Republicans in Congress refuse to stand up against racist attacks, violence against immigrants, and the epidemic of gun violence.

Enough is enough. We must spread the message that all of these callous, racist obstructionists must be voted out of office in 2020—which is why MoveOn just printed a big batch of “Disarm Hate” stickers and is giving them away for free while supplies last.

Click here or on the image below to order yours now.

As Mitch McConnell, Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and even Trump himself hit the road to campaign for their re-elections, they must see a barrage of messages reminding them that we are their constituents and they have failed us.

Imagine Republican politicians constantly spotting “Disarm Hate” on cars, in shop windows, on bike helmets and more as they drive through their districts—a reminder that voters will hold them accountable next November.

As immigrant groups hold vigils today and constituents bring concerns about gun violence to town halls during this recess, we can all show our support for confronting attacks on immigrants, tackling gun violence, and ending white supremacy. 

Click here to get your “Disarm Hate” sticker now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kelly, Schuyler, Michael, Emma, and the rest of the team

70 Catholics Arrested in Capitol Hill Protest of Trump’s Immigration Policies

H1 catholics arrested capitol hill protest immigration nuns clergy sit in russell senate office asylum seekers trump policies

In Washington, D.C., Capitol Police arrested 70 Catholic nuns and clergy Thursday as they held a nonviolent sit-in protest inside the Russell Senate Office Building against the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers. More than a dozen protesters stood in a circle, holding the photographs of migrant children who have died in U.S. custody, and reciting their names. The latest protests came as immigrant communities across the U.S. have prepared for reported ICE raids that were scheduled to begin last weekend but have largely not materialized.

Moveon.org: Free Sticker

Dear citizen,

From the very beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump has ruthlessly targeted immigrants and refugees with cruel, racist, xenophobic policies that have torn apart families and communities.

From the Muslim Ban to the ongoing family separation crisis, Trump and his administration have done everything in their power to demonize and terrorize these communities while praising white supremacists and bigots.

MoveOn members have been on the frontlines of these fights: occupying airports to protest the Muslim Ban, organizing in droves to stop the family separation policy, and more—and now we are taking our grassroots power to the streets again.

MoveOn and our allies have erected a 8-foot-tall Statue of Liberty in the center of Washington, D.C. which bears the phrase “Immigrants Welcome Here” in several languages, and starting tomorrow we are inviting the public, immigration movement leaders and activists, and members of Congress to come out and see it, take pictures with it and share them with family and friends, and show their support for immigrants and refugees.

But we know that not everyone can make it to Washington, which is why we just printed a big batch of “Immigrants Welcome Here” stickers and are giving them away FOR FREE while supplies last.

Click here or on the image below to order your sticker now and join the national movement!

America is made stronger by immigrants and refugees, and we must work every day to counter the hateful, racist rhetoric of Trump, his advisor Steven Miller, and their Republican cronies.

Click here to order your free sticker now, then place it somewhere visible to help declare that Americans will always welcome immigrants and refugees.

Thanks for all you do.

–Corinne, Kelly, Emma, Reggie, and the rest of the team

US: Massachusetts judge charged with helping man evade ICE

Charges mark latest skirmish over immigration enforcement between Trump and local gov’ts that resist his crackdown.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents enter an apartment complex looking for a specific undocumented immigrant convicted of a felony during an early morning operation in Dallas [File: LM Otero/AP Photo]
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents enter an apartment complex looking for a specific undocumented immigrant convicted of a felony during an early morning operation in Dallas 

US federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a Massachusetts judge and court officer with conspiracy and obstruction, saying they blocked an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)officer from arresting an undocumented immigrant at a 2018 court proceeding.

The charges mark the latest skirmish over immigration enforcement between US President Donald Trump‘s administration and local governments that have resisted his crackdown.

The charges target Massachusetts District Court Judge Shelley Joseph, 51, and Massachusetts Trial Court Officer Wesley MacGregor, 56, who came under federal investigation last year after authorities said the duo schemed to let the man escape from the Newton court.

ICE intended to arrest the unidentified suspected undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic facing a drug charge.

They described a huddled conversation between the judge and the defendant’s lawyer in which Joseph asks, “ICE is gonna get him?” and later says, “I’m not gonna allow them to come in here”.

Joseph then arranged for the suspect to be released through the court’s rear door while the ICE agent waited in the court room’s lobby for him to emerge.

US Supreme Court weighs citizenship question for 2020 census

MacGregor was also charged with perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury that heard evidence on the case.

Not a political message

Massachusetts US Attorney Andrew Lelling said the case was not intended to send a political message.

“We did not bring this case in response to the public debate over immigration enforcement,” he said. “This is isn’t a policy seminar, it’s a law enforcement action.”

Representatives of the judge and court officer did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters news agency.

The state Supreme Judicial Court suspended Joseph without pay following the charges, noting its move “in no way reflects any opinion on the merits of the pending criminal case”.

The charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The suspect has since been caught and is now in federal custody.

Massachusetts’s top court in 2017 ruled that state police cannot detain undocumented immigrants solely to buy time for federal officials to take them into custody.

Trump says he may ‘call up more’ troops to the US-Mexico border

One of Trump’s top priorities in office has been cracking down on undocumented immigration and he has regularly railed against “sanctuary” cities and states that do not cooperate with all aspects of federal immigration enforcement.

Trump earlier this month floated the idea of busing undocumented migrants stopped at the border to “sanctuary cities”, a move that critics called illustrative of the White House’s callous approach to the issue and some Trump allies called impractical.

Right-Wing Vigilantes Hold Migrants Hostage on U.S. Border. Did Border Patrol Give Tacit Approval?

APRIL 23, 2019
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The FBI has arrested the head of an armed vigilante group that has repeatedly filmed itself detaining migrant border crossers at gunpoint. Sixty-nine-year-old Larry Mitchell Hopkins is the leader of the far-right, pro-Trump group calling itself United Constitutional Patriots, which the American Civil Liberties Union described as an “armed fascist militia organization.” His arrest came just days after the ACLU accused the vigilantes of illegally detaining 300 migrants, including young children, near Sunland Park, New Mexico, last week. We speak to Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico.